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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 30, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur watches from the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “Let me just talk about the guys that will miss practice today.  Mike Adams, as I’ve mentioned, has a shoulder sprain so he’ll miss practice today. He’s making good progress, nothing final on this weekend yet.  Montario (Hardesty), we’re going to give him a little rest today just to see if we can jump start his healing back as we go forward.  Quinton Spears won’t practice. T.J. Ward he continues to improve, he’s been running but he won’t practice.  The rest of the guys will be limited in some fashion aside from, of course, the guys that won’t be here with the roster moves we made with putting Scott Fujita and Emmanuel Stephens on IR. We moved up a couple guys from the practice squad and, obviously, we made a change at long snapper. I’m looking forward to getting the preparation going, we had a good morning of meetings, walk-through was good and get out there and get prepared for the Ravens.”

(On if Ryan Pontbriand’s problems this year were beyond the two bad snaps over the last three weeks)- “I mentioned this to the team.  We made a personnel move, he’s not the reason we lost or won games. We did it as a team.  It’s an unfortunate part of this business and I don’t like doing it.  I have a strong feeling for the players that play here and when it happens it happens.  I would say you look at everything, you look everybody’s work in total and we just felt like we needed to make a move.”

(On if Pontbriand saying that he was in a slump had anything to do with his departure)- “There really were no comments or anything specific.  We just felt like it was time to make a switch.”

(On if this is a case was like others where a really good long snapper just loses his ability)- “I don’t know. We tried numerous things to try to get it consistent and I think that’s a question for him.  There are examples in all sports really where guys that have been so good for so long don’t find a way to be consistent.  Again, we just needed to make a change and that’s what we did.”

(On if they were trying to send a message to the team)- “No, I don’t want to send messages to the players through the media or basically through actions just to send a message.  We’re trying to win football games and do the very best we can.  I did talk to the players about how everything that happens in life there’s a lesson in it or there’s something we can learn from everything.  I mentioned this morning, I made a note, our first significant snowfall was November 30 and next year I’ll be aware of that in terms of weather we practice inside or out.  I think anything that happens in life you can take things from and I’m sure this is just another event.”

(On Jayme Mitchell’s status)- “He’ll be out there today.  He’ll practice in a limited fashion, but he’ll be out there.”

(On if Mitchell can’t go who would start at right end)- “We’re going to have a right end by committee this week so we’ll see.  As you go through practice, typically guys are limited this time of year. In the portion that you’ll see, you’ll see a number of guys playing right end.”

(On if Peyton Hillis is limited in any way today)- “He’ll practice fully today.  He’s a full-go so he’s on my full go list.”

(On if Hardesty will practice this week)- “We’re hoping to get him back out there soon, but we just feel like we’ll give him a day here to see if we can help settle it down.  We don’t feel like he re-injured himself, we just feel like we want to help speed up the healing process and we feel like at least a day here might do that.”

(On if Owen Marecic will practice)- “He’s ready to go.”

(On if he’s worried about the depth at linebacker with losing Fujita)- “Scott, obviously, added a lot to this team. He meant a lot from an experience, leadership and just quality of play.  We’ve done that at other positions and we feel confident that the guys that step up will do a good job.  I think every team in the league is dealing with this right now.  This is the time of year when guys that have been playing primarily backup roles or were role players now are sometimes thrust into starting roles.”

(On if Kaluka Maiava will practice today)- “He’ll be out there today.  He’ll be limited, but he’ll be out there.”

(On how the uncertainty at running back last week affected his game plan)- “As you know early in the week we had Obi (Chris Ogbonnaya) and Thomas Clayton, then in the middle of the week Montario, then middle of the week we get Peyton back so then we think we’re going in with three and then we really play with two. Head up knees bent, I think that’s the way you handle it.  The running game is such where they all can go in and execute the runs we call.  Obviously, some guys are better at certain runs than others and we’re fortunate that Peyton was able to handle 40-plus snaps and really not be any worse for wear so we were fortunate from that standpoint.  Had Montario been healthy, I think they all would have played a little bit less. That was the plan.  Then when he was only available in an emergency situation then obviously it’s just sheer numbers, their reps go up.”

(On the Ravens’ pass rush)- “Nine sacks their last game, that’s pretty good. When you think of the Ravens you think of a team that’s been a very fine defensive team for a lot of years regardless of who the coach has been. There’s no mystery, they’ve got talent at every level, the d-line, the linebackers and the secondary.  They’ve got leadership at every level from the top down from Ed Reed to Ray Lewis and then upfront with (Terrell) Suggs so they’ve got talent, they’ve got leadership and they’ve got an aggressive scheme.  It’s the makings of a good defense.”

(On if he can use these next two games as a barometer for how far they need to go)- “That’s probably a better question, unfortunately for after we play these games. Our focus and concentration is on the Ravens and we’ll see as we go.  We’ve made progress and I think the part for me is we need to make progress and win games and that’s where we’re at.”

(On if he faced the Ravens an offensive coordinator)- “I played them last year in the preseason in St. Louis so I’ve got an understanding of what they do on defense.  The guys that are here from last year, obviously, have a very good feel having played them a bunch of times.  I’ve got a decent idea of what they are.”

(On if the Ravens defense is as good as it gets)- “I think they’re a good defense.  I think in our division we’ve got four outstanding defenses and I think that’s going to be the case here in the AFC North for a long time. We’ve got to go out there and battle and go after them because that’s the way you get things done.”

(On the depth on defense)- “I think every team is depleted depth wise now this time of year and it’s just the guys that are in there have got to play a bigger role. I think that’s the message as you move forward and we’ve just got to get that done.”

(On where Titus Brown lined up when he recorded his sack)- “He’s helped us in pass rush situations.  When you’re a backup linebacker, you really have to back up inside and outside.  He’s got some skills at pass rusher so there’s time when we put him in there.”

(On if Brown has a chance to go into the starting lineup because of Fujita’s injury)- “In terms of at the linebacker spot right now we’re going to move Kaluka and (Chris) Gocong.  He’ll be ready to go in case something comes up.”

(On if Colt McCoy struggles in the pocket with feel and timing)- “I wouldn’t say that.  I think he’s working through everything.  I think he’s got a better feel.”

(On if McCoy has improved with his feel in the pocket)- “I think so.  There were times last week when he stepped up and he had some scrabble yardage as well.  That shows that he’s stepping up through the pocket and if guys aren’t open or the coverage is tight enough where they’re playing man and they’re running with their backs turned, now he’s putting them in positions to get scrambles and extend drives and I think that’s good.  That shows me that there’s pocket presence.”

(On if McCoy threw some balls last week that the receivers could have done a better job fighting for them)- “I think it’s been documented, I think we had some drops.”

(On if it was beyond the drops)- “I think he made some good throws, he made some throws that were a little bit of the mark and we dropped a couple.  It was a combination.  I don’t think it’s one thing.”

(On Marvin Lewis saying McCoy would run after his first read and if McCoy is running too much)- “No, I don’t think so.  I would say Colt goes through his progression.  I wouldn’t characterize it as his first read.  He understands how important it is.  Typically if you’re going to have a long drive and you guys all watch a lot of football, typically if there is a long drive somewhere in there the quarterback does something with his feet to extend the drive. Whether it’s scramble for yardage and get down or break the pocket, maybe make a throw or maybe break the pocket and throw the ball away.  I think that’s all part of what you want to see.  I think he’s done a good job with some of that stuff of late.  I think that’s good.”

(On McCoy’s shoulder)- “He’s fine.  He was out their throwing today.  My conversations with him the last couple of days have been great, upbeat.  He’s ready to get going, but he’ll do everything today for sure.”

(On if he feels the team offensively and defensively is not making enough plays in the fourth quarter and if youth has anything to do with that)- “I think each game is a different story.  We found a way to get ahead this week and didn’t finish it.  There have been other games when we’ve been behind and we’ve raced back.  I think when you have players that are youthful as they go through things and learn more, it helps them the next time they go through it.  I don’t think that’s significant one way or the other.  We’ve just got to do it.”

(On if Greg Little has been targeted more than anybody else because he gets open more than anybody else)- “There was four or five occasions where Colt went through his progression like what Marvin (Lewis) was talking about and got back to Greg as a number three or a number four. That’s what happened.  I wouldn’t say it’s significant him compared to other receivers.  There were throws in there where Mo (Mohamed) was first in the progression that didn’t get there for whatever reason and there was a couple where Jordan Norwood was first in the progression.  The first scramble of the game, we were trying to throw the ball to Jordan.  They took Jordan away.  He stepped up in the pocket.  Greg was coming open, but they doubled Greg and then he scrambled.  In my mind he went from one to two and then three was covered on his side view mirror, so he ran with it.  That happens quite frequently. At the end of the game hopefully all the receivers get some production.  How the game dictates it, sometimes things come in little bigger bunches.  The guys on the team, when they are on the field we want them to be able to produce.  Sometimes the game dictates a little bit where the ball goes and that’s why you don’t run just one receiver routes.”

(On why Little is the top targeted receiver this year statistically)- “I think he’s improved.  We already talked about how he dropped some balls last week, but I expect to see him continue to improve.  I think the ball is getting spread around.  I think at this point, Josh (Cribbs) has got more receptions and more yards than any year he’s played.  Tight ends as whole are getting their production.  You’ll see as we get our backs back healthier, you’ll see them catch more check downs.  You’ve got Mo who is in and out of the lineup, we need to get him throws and Jordan Norwood.  We’re talking about why the ball gets spread around.”

(On Tom Heckert saying in camp that Norwood was a player and if he saw Norwood’s potential)- “I think he’s a playmaker.  It’s important that he touches the ball and he’s done a good job.  He’s been a steady performer with what we’ve asked him to do.”

(On what Joe Flacco does well)- “I think when you have a quarterback that’s won as many games as he’s won, I think he executes well within their system, what they ask him to do.  He’s obviously led that team to a lot of victories.  I think he’s an excellent thrower.  I think like anything there are games where he is still getting used to some of his new personnel.  Guys that he’s playing with, he’s got relatively new tight ends.  He’s got a new receiver.  Anquan Boldin he has just been there a couple years.  There’s some of that, but I think he’s a top-flight quarterback in this league.  It’s no mystery to me that he’s had great success.”

(On Torrey Smith)- “He’s an extremely fast, explosive guy.  He’s got some explosive plays for them.  I think earlier in the year against St. Louis, he caught two deep balls right away, which stretched the score out, which changes the game.  When teams know that a guy can do that, it has an effect on defense.”

(On how important it is to have a speed guy that can stretch the field and if Norwood could be that guy)- “Obviously, you want the biggest fastest people you can get that are good football players at all positions.  If you’ve got a guy that can really run and get down the field, you want that.  It’s like asking about signing a bill for clean water, of course you want clean water.  That’s what you’re looking for.  I think what Jordan gives us is not so much the speed, but he finds a way to get open and uncover.  I think that’s as equally an important attribute for a receiver.  There are times when you just can’t run by a defense, they’re going to just not let you.  Now what do you do?  You’ve got to get open and I think he’s displayed an ability to do that.”

(On if McCoy has played more consistently in the last three games and he still considers him a rookie)- “I think I’ve called him almost a rookie.  I think he’s made progress in the last three weeks, no question.  I think we all have and I think it’s important that we keep that going.”

(On if they were so honed in on Little so much that they would have taken him even if Torrey Smith was still available)- “No, I wouldn’t say that.”

(On if they looked at Smith during the draft process)- “Oh absolutely, we liked him a great deal.  There’s no question that we thought he’d be a great receiver.”

(On if he was disappointed when Smith was taken ahead of their pick)- “Any time good players go to teams in the division, you don’t like to see that.  He’s a good player and he’s playing well for them for sure.”

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